For reference the results from the stock aluminum Athlon 64 heatsink, heat pipe version (which comes with higher end X2 models) and the older XP-90C were included in the charts below. Our first test is with the CPU running at stock speeds and vcore, a low airflow Delta 92mm fan was used, as well as an alarmingly loud Vantec Tornado, when using the Tornado the rear case fan was set running @ 12v (no noise difference between 5v<>12v as the Tornado fan drowns it out).
Compared to the XP-90C the Ultra-90 doesn't seem to improve much, with the Delta @ 50% the PC is dead silent and running cool. Coupled with the Tornado fan the performance is stellar, but sitting next to a PC this loud for long periods of times will no doubt effect your hearing ;-)
Turning up the heat, these are the results:
I couldn't lower the fan speed of the Delta 92mm or else the CPU would overheat and crash, but even at full speed the fan used is fairly silent and keeps the PC running stable. Again there is practically no difference with the XP-90C; the PWM temperatures are dangerously high too. Coupled with the Tornado fan the Ultra-90 becomes one of the best scoring heatsink tested, temperature wise, but then again, strapping a Tornado-like fan to almost any
heatsink will make it perform like crazy. Conclusion
Overall I have mixed feelings over the Ultra-90, it's a worthy successor of the *90 series, but fails to impress when compared to similar products from competitors. This heatsink is made for high airflow and shouldn't be considered when you are looking for very silent CPU cooling. If you want a compact heatsink to couple a powerful fan with, you might have found an excellent candidate, that is, if you get the additional S-clip so you can line up the heatsink correctly (check your motherboard's bracket orientation). PRO
Okay performance with silent fan
Excellent performance with high speed fan
Moderately quiet with Delta 92mm fan
Easy Clip-On Installation
Competitive price ~?/$30CON
Standard Clip doesn't allow free orientation on S939/AM2
I like to thank Bacata
for sending over the product for testing; keep an eye out for my upcoming Ultra-120 review.
Questions/Comments: forum thread